LITERATURE: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien, American studies, Volume 52, J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung 2007, p.22. Thomas Adam, Germany and the Americas: culture, politics, and history : Volume 3, Santa Barbara 2005, p.660. Kerstin Schmidt, Space in America: theory, history, culture, Netherlands 2005, p.575. Jerzy Durczak, American portraits and Self-portraits, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University Press 2002, p.156. Katharina Bott , Deutsche Künstler in Amerika, 1813-1913: Amerikanische Künstler in Deutschland, 1813-1913, Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften 1996, p.143. Mario Materassi and Maria Irene Ramalho Sousa Santos, The American Columbiad: discovering America, inventing the United States Volume 34 of European contributions to American studies, VU University Press 1996, p.68. Rosella Mamoli Zorzi , L'immaginario americano e Colombo: atti del convegno di Venezia, Bulzoni 1993, p.58. William H. Gerdts and Mark Edward Thistlethwaite, Grand illusions: history painting in America, University of Michigan 1988, p.149. Edward J. Nygren and Linda Crocker Simmons, American masters: works on paper from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 1986, p.19. Natalie Spassky, Volume 2 of American Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1985, p.14 Joshua C. Taylor, The Fine Arts in America, Chicago 1979, p.83. Raymond L. Stehle, The life and works of Emanuel Leutze, Washington 1976, p.2 (of 3 of the checklist). Barbara S. Groseclose, Emanuel Leutze: 1816-1868, National Collection of Fine Arts 1975, p.73. Nancy Dustin Wall Moure and Donelson F. Hoopes, American narrative painting, Los Angeles 1974, p.96. Columbia Historical Society (Washington, D.C.), Columbia Historical Society of Washington, Volumes 69-70, Washington, D.C. 1971, p. 309. Albert Bernhardt Faust, The German element in the United States, Volume 2, Boston 1909, p.295.
Based on The life and works of Emanuel Leutze by Ramond L. Stehle, the painting of Columbus before the High Council of Salamanca by Emanuel Leutze has been missing since 1870. Its last mention was in Handbuch der Kupferstichsammler by Andreas Andresen, who noted that the painting was engraved at that time by the artist Theodor Jansen.
Since it was his first historical painting when he was residing in Dusseldorf, Leutze's depiction of Christopher Columbus is mentioned in almost every one of Leutze's biographies. He based his interpretation of this historical moment on Washington Irving's account of Columbus' examination. A brief visual description of the painting can be found in Dusseldorfer Kunstler aus den letzten funfundzwanzig Janhren, 1854:
'The artist shows us this worthy gathering in an antique, mystically lighted place, the appearance of which instills at once the thought that here is a place of learning. Around a large table bearing books and instruments we see gathered in different groups, some sitting, some standing, those who are submitting the great discover of the New World to a childish examination...Among the numerous figures Leutze has demonstrated a wonderful capacity to delineate types. Here one sees vain, dry learning, apathetic narrow-mindedness, but also lively interest, the fresh spirit of progress, pleasure in the examination of the propositions of the simple sailor.'